Dark Sky Places
Have you ever tried to look for the stars when you're in the city? It's hard, right? Sometimes you may only see a handful of the brightest stars shining down at you. This may be one of the reasons you're out here now travelling across NSW, hoping to see the night sky.
Even in the cities, all the stars that you can see at night in the country are there but are being hidden by a film of wasted light used in streetlights, outdoor house lights and even advertising. This light stops you seeing the stars, and may mean future generations never ever get to see the Southern Cross, the Milky Way or a planet crossing the night sky.
The natural nighttime environment is important - not just so you can see the magnificent night sky, but so nocturnal animals can find food in the dark, insects can pollinate and birds can migrate in the cover of darkness as they have done for millions of years.
Have you heard about Dark Sky Places?
As you head into Coonabarabran you are driving into a community committed to keeping their dark skies dark. Turning off outdoor lights when you don't need them, using warm coloured light globes and keeping light under a cover all help. In 2015, The Warrumbungle Shire Council, and its neighbours, Dubbo, Coonamble and Gilgandra Shires, was designated as the first places in Australia to become a Dark Sky Place by the International Dark-Sky Association.
The association, known as IDA, recognises places that cherish the night sky, and aim to preserve it for future generations. To become a dark sky place, you must commit to keeping your lights off or used correctly at night. Getting out in the dark, looking at the stars, is a great way to learn that being out in the dark is not all that scary, but really rather fun!
What you can do to see the stars better at home?
It's really rather simple.
- consider if you really need to use a light
- turn off lights when you don't need them or use motion sensors, and
- use warm globes, yellowy coloured
You could even try creating your own dark sky place near your home.